You have seen coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis) dispersing along California beach bluffs and up through coastal canyons. While more often than not it is found instead of designed with, restorationists and urges of native planting replaces this readily overlooked tree as one worth revisiting in the garden.
Native to the coastal bluffs and chaparral of California around Oregon, coyote bush is a scene survivor, reviving after flames or clearings. And while it is not the very showstopping garden plant, coyote bush attracts native fauna and reestablishes indigenous flora.
Here coyote bush is planted with perennial grasses. Its dense structure and trustworthy evergreen foliage make a casual yet architectural screen.
Botanical name:Baccharis pilularis
Common names:Coyote bush, coyotebrush, chaparral broom
Origin:Native to the Oregon shore, California and New Mexico
USDA zones: 8 to 10 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Small to none
Light requirement:Full sun to partial shade
Mature dimensions: 2 to 6 ft tall and 6 ft broad
advantages and tolerances: Tolerant of varying soil types and direct coastal states; leaves are fire retardant; deer resistant; provides refuge for wildlife; nectar attracts bees, butterflies and other native insects
Seasonal attention: Evergreen; blossoms fall during winter
When to plant: Plant woody cuttings in autumn.
Distinguishing attributes. Coyote bush is a low-lying tree with dense foliage and wiry branches. Year-round it is covered with medium green, jagged-edged leaves. Their waxy appearance is due to a coating which prevents moisture loss from evaporation. The leaves may get sticky during warm summer days, but they’re also fire retardant.
Photo by Wikimedia commons consumer Evangele19
Coyote bush’s form reflects its survival requirements, based upon the climate. It’s dense and low along the shore in harsh windy states and much more of an upright tree in safe inland canyons.
The tree generates inconspicuous flowers (white fluffy female flowers and yellow male flowers) from fall through winter. Following flowering, the plants go to seed, then sending pappi into the end. Most nurseries sell the man plants, as those will not produce seeds make the same mess.
Photo by Miguel Vieira
How to utilize it. Plant coyote bush for the wildlife value. Its nectar feeds native and nonnative insects and bees, and its branching provides a refuge and habitat for wildlife. The conventional form and ‘Pigeon Point’ cultivar are mixed in the hillside restoration project shown here.
Planting notes. Coyote bush is considered a common plant by most, together with cultural tolerance and resilience. It prefers well-drained soil, such as those at the shore, but overall it is soil tolerant. It can manage direct salt spray, fog and end — aquatic conditions — also needs no supplemental watering. It is, nevertheless, more fire retardant and lush in case watered monthly in inland climates.
Coyote bush does finest given full sun and enough space for its extensive root system to disperse. It is a plant that’s fast to regenerate after fires, floods or clearings; pruning periodically thins the plant out and keeps its shape in a process which mimics nature’s.
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